Saturday, March 09, 2019

BREAKING: Students descend on OSU President Drake’s office, launch sit-in on eve of International Women’s Day

Coalition of Immokalee Workers<>
Upon arriving at the President office inside Bricker Hall, students with the Ohio State University Student/Farmworker Alliance chapter took turns reading aloud a powerful letter, addressed to President Drake, expressing the urgency of their demand to end OSU’s business relations with Wendy’s. Here is an excerpt of the letter:

Dear President Drake,

We are here today to demand that you cut OSU’s contract with Wendy’s. Now is the time. Ohio State has been stalling for six years. Six years of students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members calling on you to demonstrate Ohio State’s commitment to human rights through one simple action: refusing to do business with Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program. You and the Ohio State administration have continually evaded our call to action, prioritizing the public image of Wendy’s over your own social responsibility. We are here today, on the eve of International Women’s Day, to invite you to follow through on your word that you “actively support fair treatment of workers” by cutting the contract. Now is the time...

Although President Drake remained behind closed doors in his office while the students’ read the letter, he did make a brief appearance during the sit-in, flanked by campus police. Ignoring students’ questions and demands for a meeting, President Drake emerged from his office and exited the building as quickly as possible, with their songs and chants echoing at his back. By 5:30, as the building was shutting down, a larger contingent of police entered the room and threatened students with arrest if they refused to leave.

But even after the sit-in participants were physically forced out of the administration building by both campus security and police into the chilly winter air, their spirits remained high. Singing as they exited the building, students held an impromptu reflection on their experience, solidifying their determination to keep the campaign going... READ MORE
PLUS: Join today's national call-in day to President Drake's office!

In just a few short hours, over 800 farmworkers and allies will be gathering in Goodale Park in Columbus for the International Women’s Day March through Columbus into the heart of the Ohio State University campus. If you can’t be with us today, make sure to take part in the Alliance for Fair Food national call-in day TODAY to President Drake’s office! Here’s how:

1. Call the Office of the President of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio at (614) 292-2424

2. Ask if you can leave a message for President Drake regarding OSU’s business with Wendy’s tomato purchasing policies.

3. You’ll likely be directed to an assistant. Once you get someone on the line, give your statement. Feel free to offer your own personal comments, or use the script provided below!
“Hi, my name is ________ and I am calling to urge you, President Drake, to cut Ohio State’s contract with Wendy’s. By refusing to sign onto the Presidential Award-winning Fair Food Program, Wendy’s has put profit above workplace protections against wage theft, sexual assault, and modern-day slavery. They have also rejected the notion of paying workers just one penny more per pound of tomatoes in an effort to raise wages for some of the nation’s lowest paid and most exploited workers. As one of the country’s largest and most renowned universities, it is OSU’s responsibility to cut its business ties with Wendy’s until they commit to improving workplace conditions and wages for farmworkers on the fields they purchase tomatoes from. If OSU truly strives to embody its motto of “Education for Citizenship” then it should hold Wendy’s accountable and show students, community members and the world at large that OSU will be on the right side of history on this issue. The choice is yours, President Drake, and OSU students, many of whom have sacrificed classes, assignments and other activities to join in solidarity with farmworkers, are expecting you to make the only moral choice — to boot Wendy’s off-campus until they join the Fair Food Program. It’s time for the OSU administration to join the campus community in supporting the farmworkers who feed us.”

4. Post about it! Let us know that you called and invite your friends to make a call, too, on social media.

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